Rye Lake MS/HS takes honors celebration to a higher level

Quarterly honors ceremony now a recurring celebration

Nineteen students, including seven previous honorees, were recognized Feb. 2 for their academic achievement in what is becoming a familiar ceremony on the Rye Lake High School campus.

The main conference room was festooned with colorful balloons and photo backdrops as parents and BOCES administrators joined students and educators for the 2nd Quarter Honor Roll Celebration. The school always recognized its honor roll students, but now a quarterly celebration includes inviting parents and district officials. These celebratory events are part of a concerted effort by Principal Eric Ford’s leadership team to send a message to students about the heights to which they can successfully strive to reach. 

“I am so proud not only of just how many students in our programs are achieving Honor Roll and High Honor Roll, but also how many are doing so for consecutive quarters,” Mr. Ford said. “This ceremony is about recognizing academic success but also about these kids learning what they’re capable of achieving.”

School Counselor Cristina Tompkins orchestrates the honors ceremony and serves as its emcee. As students stroll up to receive their certificates, Ms. Tompkins greets parents warmly, aware that their pride in these students exceeds even her own.

“We have a culture here where effort and success are not only encouraged but expected,” she said. “These kids show up and do the work, and they believe they can excel. That’s not by accident.”

Senior Southern Westchester BOCES officials turned out for the event, notably District Superintendent Dr. Harold Coles, Director of Special Services Jessica Walker and Assistant Director of Special Services Dr. Alexandria Connally.

Some students shied away from the considerable number of cell phone cameras pointed their way. Others were more amenable to photos, as parents and grandparents lined up to capture the moment. 

MaryAnn Sacks positively beamed with pride as her grandson, Benjamin Sacks, received his accolades. She credited the program here at Southern Westchester BOCES for fostering his success.

“This program helps these kids who are dealing with a variety of challenges and really recognizes who they are and what they are capable of accomplishing,” Ms. Sacks said. 


High Honor Roll

Jamie Naranjo Cortez
Connor Boyle

Honor Roll

Middle School

Lily Meudt
Mynor Arriaza
Osias Monegro
Jeremy Baez
Miles DiMasi
Christopher Nivicela Zhipson
Justin Garcia Tzi
Iris Pons Ogando
Gabriel Simon

High School

Brielle Steed
Khianni Thomas
Benjamin Sacks
Keshaun Phillips
Nerica Renoj Diaz
Johnny Shi
Lyla Garcia
Arlinda Hoxhaj

Most Improved

Iris Pons Gando - Middle School
Lyla Garcia - High School